Racing Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
By Troy Siahaan, Features Editor
This past year has been filled with memorable moments, but without a doubt my moto highlight of 2013 was competing at Pikes Peak. In case you forgot, I was asked to be a last-second replacement rider for Harlan Flagg, owner of the largest Zero dealer in the country, Hollywood Electrics, who was fielding a team (an entire class, actually) comprised of Zero S and FX models. I would be riding an FX modified to full supermoto trim and running the same motors as the S models. Theoretically, the FXs would have the advantage, as they’d make the same power as the S models but weigh about 100 pounds less.
Coming into the event, I thought my racing background would serve me well, but nothing prepared me for the week to come – altitude sickness, daily 2am wake-up calls and very limited practice time was a rough way to learn the 12-mile, 156-turn course. Then breaking my foot in practice only hours before my wife arrived to see me race put a damper on things. That was a fun conversation in the car explaining to her why I thought this was a good idea…
Regardless, not even a broken foot was going to stop me from getting to the top, and the 12 minutes, 24 seconds it took me to do it flew right by. I could stop this story here and have a very memorable tale to tell of how I scored third in class at Pikes Peak – with a broken foot. But the part that truly stands out to me was the massive fan reception at the end, as all the competitors made their way back down the mountain. These strangers had camped out on the mountainside for about 20 hours and were there to greet, cheer, and high five everyone regardless of finishing order. Without a doubt, the fans made my Pikes Peak experience something I’ll never forget.